Wes Miller is in his seventh season as the UNCG men's basketball coach in 2017-18 after taking over the reins of the program in December of 2011 on an interim basis. Miller has spent the last six years building a championship-mentality throughout the program and has laid the groundwork for future success.
Miller guided the Spartans back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001 during the 2017-18 season after winning the Southern Conference Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Miller’s Spartans earned the No. 13 seed in the West Region and took on perennial mid-major power and eighth-ranked Gonzaga in Boise, Idaho. The Spartans fell 68-64, but proved they belonged in the big dance. UNCG went up 64-62 with 1:49 remaining after Jordy Kuiper tipped in a missed jumper to take UNCG’s fifth lead of the game. The upset bid fell short as Gonzaga hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to advance with a 68-64 victory.
Miller’s squad earned its second-consecutive No. 1 seed in the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville. The Spartans tied and eventually set a new program record with 27 wins on the season en route to earning its second SoCon Tournament Championship. The Spartans played three games in the SoCon Tournament, defeating The Citadel, Wofford and ETSU. The Spartans cruised past The Citadel in the first round, 72-58, before playing a dramatic semi-final against Wofford. UNCG hit a last second 3-pointer to edge Wofford 56-55 and clinch a spot in the SoCon championship game for the second-straight season. The Spartans defeated ETSU, 62-47 to punch their ticket to the big dance for the first time in 17 seasons. It marks the third-consecutive postseason appearance for the Spartans who have now reached the postseason six times in the 51-year history.
The 27 wins set a new program record for wins in a season, besting the previous mark of 25 set the season before. UNCG went 15-3 during the SoCon’s regular season, earning back-to-back SoCon Regular Season Championships for the first time in program history.
The Spartans finished the 2017-18 regular season with a perfect 9-0 home mark in SoCon play, and 16-1 at home for the season. It’s the first time in program history that the Spartans earned a perfect home record in SoCon play. The 16 wins and the .941 winning percentage in the Gate City are the highest in a season in the Division I era.
Miller earned the SoCon’s Coach of the Year award for the second time in his coaching career for his team’s performance during the 2017-18 season. Along with Miller, four Spartans earned All-SoCon honors. Junior guard Francis Alonso earned First Team All-SoCon for the first time in his career, his third All-SoCon honor. Sophomore center James Dickey became UNCG’s first-ever SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, also earning Second Team All-SoCon honors. Senior Marvin Smith was named Third Team All-SoCon with freshman guard Isaiah Miller named to the five-member SoCon All-Freshman Team.
Miller’s program turned the corner during the 2016-17 season with one of the most successful seasons in program history. He led the Spartans to the program’s third Southern Conference regular season title and first-ever No. 1 seed in the SoCon Tournament. He guided UNCG to a program-record 25-10 overall record and a 14-4 mark in SoCon play.
The 25 wins are the most for UNCG in the 50-year history of men's basketball while the 14 wins are the most for the Spartans in their SoCon history and ties the program record for conference wins in a season. UNCG advanced to the SoCon Tournament Championship game for the third time in program history and the first time since 2005. The Spartans and ETSU played one of the best championship games in program history with UNCG falling in the final seconds.
Miller led the Spartans to their second-straight postseason appearance and just the fifth appearance in program history as UNCG earned the SoCon's automatic bid into the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Spartans made their second appearance all-time in the NIT and first since 2002 when they traveled to Atlantic Coast Conference foe Syracuse.
The 2016-17 Spartans set a program-record with a nine-game winning streak, the longest winning streak for UNCG at the NCAA Division I level. Additionally, the Spartans became the first UNCG team to post three winning streaks of at least six or more games. UNCG posted a 7-2 record on the road in SoCon play, marking the best record of any team on the road in league play that season and setting a new UNCG record for road wins in league play at the NCAA Division I level.
Miller also led the Spartans to individual success in 2016-17 with senior guard Diante Baldwin and sophomore guard Francis Alonso earning Second Team All-SoCon honors while senior center R.J. White was named Third Team All-SoCon. Alonso set a UNCG single-season record with 102 made 3-pointes while freshman forward James Dickey was named to the league's All-Freshman Team.
Miller, the 2012 Southern Conference Coach of the Year during his interim season, has led the Spartans to double digit wins in five out of the last six years breaking a streak of three straight seasons with eight or less wins (2008-2011). When he took over during the 2011-12 season, he led the Spartans to a 10-8 SoCon record and the SoCon North Division title as he was 11-11 overall that year.
In 2015-16, he led the Spartans to a 15-19 overall record – their highest win total since the 2007-08 season. He guided UNCG to just its fourth postseason appearance in program history as the Spartans took part in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), advancing to the quarterfinals. UNCG picked up its first-ever postseason win in program history with a 69-65 win over Houston Baptist at home at the Greensboro Coliseum
The Spartans finished the regular season with a 10-8 record in SoCon play, matching their win total in the league from 2011-12. UNCG was especially strong at home posting a 12-4 record, the highest win total since moving to the Greensboro Coliseum and the top mark for home wins since the 2000-01 season (12-6).
Junior center R.J. White and classmate Diante Baldwin were named to the All-SoCon Team last season. White led the conference and ranked 13th in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 61.6 percent while Baldwin was the only player in the league to rank in the top 20 in scoring and rebounding while ranking in the top five in assists and steals. Freshman Francis Alonso also burst onto the scene in 2015-16, setting the UNCG single-season scoring record for a freshman with 443 points on his way to All-Freshman Team accolades.
In 2014-15, the Spartans were hit hard by injuries from the outset of the year and played late in the year with just six available scholarship student-athletes. Despite the disadvantage, UNCG was still the only team in the SoCon with five different players averaging double figures in scoring, with four out of the five players set to return next year.
Additionally, the Spartans had two players join the illustrious 1,000-career point mark that season as junior Kayel Locke became the 19th member in early February and senior Nicholas Paulos joined the ranks later that month.
Miller led the Spartans to 14 wins in 2013-14, their highest-win total since 2007-08. Included in that mark was the program's first victory over an ACC school since 2007 and just their second victory all-time against the conference with a come-from-behind win at Virginia Tech. Freshman Tevon Saddler was named as the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2013-14, the Spartans first such honor since Kyle Hines won the award in 2005.
Junior Kyle Cain was named First Team All-SoCon and Second Team All-Region last year. Cain became the second straight Spartan to sign a professional contract overseas, inking with Ramat Hasharon in Israel. Trevis Simpson is in his second year playing professionally in Greece after starring for the Spartans from 2011-2014.
Miller and his staff were very active on the recruiting trail in his first full season as the Spartans bringing in seven newcomers for the 2013-14 season, the first full recruiting class under Miller's tenure. The highly-touted class includes six freshmen and one transfer. The Spartans were aggressive in recruiting North Carolina where they signed three All-State selections, including Clay Byrd and Diante Baldwin.
Miller and his staff also built on their success recruiting from the Baltimore area as they signed the Maryland Player of the Year, Tevon Saddler, a year removed from signing another Baltimore area standout in top-returning scorer Kayel Locke.
Miller, who was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I at the time of his hire, made the removal of the interim tag an easy decision as he was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Spartans to the SoCon North Division title at the end of the 2011-12 season.
Miller took control of the program Dec. 13, 2011 with the Spartans sitting at 2-8 and led them through one of the biggest turnarounds in program history. Miller guided the Spartans to an 11-11 record the rest of the season to finish with a 13-19 overall record, including a 10-8 mark in SoCon play.
The Spartans lost their first six games under Miller to fall to 2-14 on the season but the program made an 180-degree turnaround posting an 11-5 record down the stretch. UNCG posted a seven-game winning streak during league play, which included several dramatic victories. The Spartans carried that momentum into the conference tournament where they advanced to the SoCon semifinals for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Miller, who also spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach at UNCG, is no stranger to the state of North Carolina. He played three seasons at the University of North Carolina and spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Elon and High Point. Miller also ran his own basketball camps in Charlotte and Greensboro for two summers.
In three seasons as a player at North Carolina under head coach and mentor Roy Williams, Miller helped the Tar Heels to the national championship in 2005, two Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and one ACC Tournament title. He was team captain as a senior in 2006-07, leading UNC to 31 wins and the NCAA Elite 8 as well as the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, and a final No. 3 national ranking.
As a junior, Miller shot 44.1 percent from the 3-point line, which was seventh-best in a single season in the UNC record book. His 64 treys that season ranked eighth in the ACC. He earned the team's Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards that season, as well.
A fan favorite at UNC, Miller authored a book entitled The Road to Blue Heaven, which was published as a diary of his experiences as a North Carolina basketball player. In addition to his success on the floor, Miller excelled off the court, earning ACC Academic Honor Roll recognition and the UNC Athletic Director's Scholar Athlete-Award. He earned his degree in political science from North Carolina in 2007.
Upon his graduation from North Carolina, Miller played one season of professional basketball for the London Capitals of the British Basketball League, where he averaged 19.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league.
Miller was a prep standout at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He earned a scholarship to James Madison University, where he played one season before transferring to North Carolina to become a walk-on for Roy Williams' squad.
Miller married the former Ashley Love in August 2011.